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Artifacts and Fiction - Workshop in American Literature
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Home > Session Guides > 4: Oral Histories

4. Oral Histories Session Guide Related Materials
Item #6393
serial: #6393
Homero Lopez and Manuel Salinas, VERSOS DEL MOJADO (1939) courtesy of Library of Congress [AFC 1939/001 2618a2].
Click to Listen (1m:54s) [335.41K]



Introduction
This workshop session introduces the analysis of oral history artifacts as a tool in the literature classroom. Mary Pat Brady, literature professor at Cornell University, uses a corrido titled Versos del Mojado (Verses of the Wetback) to help teachers enhance their reading of American literature texts.

By looking at two intellectual products from the same culture—the corrido and Gloria Anzaldúa's poem El Sonavabitche—you will better understand Chicano* culture in the mid to late twentieth century.

During the course of the session, you will learn how to search for oral history artifacts to help teach American literature. In the onscreen class, Mary Pat discusses how she uses oral history artifacts to illuminate the discipline of literature in her own classroom. She provides high school teachers with ideas how to analyze the oral history artifacts; she also suggests specific lesson plans.

We then follow the onscreen teachers into the computer lab where they work with Mary Pat, Laura Arnold Leibman (Reed College English professor), and each other to find artifacts that supplement the themes and context of the literature they are currently teaching.

Next, we follow Michaela Miller, a teacher at River Ridge High School in Olympia, Washington, into her own high school classroom. We watch as she models a similar lesson with her students. Finally we hear Michaela's reflections on her own teaching practices.

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